Exercising the mind to treat attention deficits

wildmind meditation newsDaniel Goleman, The New York Times: Which will it be — the berries or the chocolate dessert? Homework or the Xbox? Finish that memo, or roam Facebook?

Such quotidian decisions test a mental ability called cognitive control, the capacity to maintain focus on an important choice while ignoring other impulses. Poor planning, wandering attention and trouble inhibiting impulses all signify lapses in cognitive control. Now a growing stream of research suggests that strengthening this mental muscle, usually with exercises in so-called mindfulness, may help children and adults cope with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and its adult equivalent, attention deficit disorder.

The studies come …

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Free the Mind examines whether mental issues can be treated with meditation instead of medication

August 8, 2013

Marielle Argueza, Monterey County Weekly:

America has become increasingly familiar with mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit disorder, especially since America’s occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. Often, those who live with these disorders are prescribed medications to help them deal with everyday task like sleeping or paying attention. Free the Mind, a documentary by Phie Ambo, looks into Richard Davidson’s innovative new study in alternative methods of treating such conditions.

So what works better than Ambien and Ritalin in this day and age? Apparently, a couple of deep breaths and controlled meditation. Davidson is a professor of psychology and…

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Can meditation help ADHD?

April 24, 2012

Martica Heaner, Ph.D.: Q. Since meditation helps a person focus, can regular meditation help those with ADHD?

A. It seems as though meditation should help those with ADHD, but proof that it works has been sketchy. That’s because very few well-controlled studies have been conducted.

Meditation is a mental practice where one attempts to clear the mind of distractions through a combination of deep breathing, mental focusing exercise and/or physical relaxation techniques. Although there are different methods of meditation, there is some evidence that practicing it can improve mental focus. So it makes sense to explore how this practice might affect ADHD …

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Sweet reasons to clear the head

August 26, 2010

Meditating using chocolate is a sweet way to experience bliss.

Kew East [Victoria, Australia] author Janet Etty-Leal has been using chocolate mindfulness meditation to help teach children awareness and relaxation techniques.

“They come to their senses, they feel it, smell it, taste the flavours and notice all the sensations,” Etty-Leal, 55, said.

Etty-Leal uses novel props, visual aids and games to help children master their minds.

“We don’t just sit or lie down, we do walking meditation, feeling fabrics under our feet,” she said.

“If you’re going to teach it in a dull and serious way, you’re not going to capture their hearts and imagination. When you make it fun and use things they’re not … Read more »

The joy of daydreaming

Stillness, meditation, reflection, silence. Radio documentary maker Alan Hall goes in search of refuge from the noise and bustle of the modern world, looking for moments of peace amid the hurly-burly of daily life.

I was seeking still moments.

A friend had mentioned The Pause, an unlikely quiet time held at the start of each day in a London boys’ school.

Now I found myself perched next to the headmaster, David Boddy, on a stage in the main hall of St James Independent School, Twickenham. This was a school assembly, but not as I knew it.

“Balanced and upright” was the head’s gently coaxed instruction.

Three hundred boys fell into a well-rehearsed silence. Many closed … Read more »

Mental exercise like meditation can literally change our minds

September 28, 2009

Vancouver Sun: Richard Davidson, one of the world’s top brain scientists, believes mental exercise, specifically meditation, can literally change our minds.

“Our data shows mental practice can induce long-lasting changes in the brain,” said Davidson, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

His startling scientific research on the impact of meditation on brain function has implications that go beyond the physical.

Buddhist monks believe mental attributes and positive emotions such as compassion, loving kindness and empathy are skills that can be cultivated.

Science is beginning to back that up.

Davidson started meditating in 1974, when he was a Phd student at Harvard. Back then, meditation was seen as a somewhat faddish … Read more »

9 Drug-Free Approaches to Managing ADHD

August 13, 2009

US News:…In general, rhythmic activities can improve attention in certain children, according to Stanley Greenspan, clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at George Washington University Medical School and coauthor of Overcoming ADHD: Helping Your Child Become Calm, Engaged, and Focused—Without a Pill, a book coming out next month. But such activities are only one part of a comprehensive program described in the book, Greenspan says, which aims to help all areas of development that influence attention. Here’s a tip from the book: Try playing “Simon says,” getting your child to mimic your gradually more elaborate two- and three-step actions.

A pilot study that appeared in a 2008 issue of Current Issues in Education … Read more »

Using meditation as medication

February 24, 2009

BBC News: A new study suggests that Transcendental Meditation could help to increase brain function and lower stress. Fifty students took part in the trial at the American University in Washington DC, and after ten weeks of meditation they reported feeling more alert and said they coped better in difficult situations. Read more here.

Research into the health claims made for meditation has limitations and few conclusions can be reached, but indications suggest that meditation may have a measurable impact on the brain.

Josh Goldberg took part in the study at the American University and claims it has helped to get him off a cocktail of drugs he was taking to control Attention

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Contact with nature helps kids with ADD

January 4, 2009

A dose of nature shows some help for children’s concentration skills. Results of the small study have been published in the August issue of The Journal of Attention Disorders. WHYY Morning Edition’s Brenda Jorett talked with Dr. Dan Gottlieb. Listen to the podcast (5 minutes, 24 seconds)

Transcendental meditation reduces ADHD symptoms among students: New study

December 30, 2008

Medical News Today: The Transcendental Meditation technique may be an effective and safe non-pharmaceutical aid for treating ADHD, according to a promising new study published this month in the peer-reviewed online journal Current Issues in Education. Read more here.